RoboCoin, a kiosk that allows you to trade Bitcoin for other currencies, is now available for pre-order and should be shipping for “Fall 2013.” Lest you decide to become the Bitcoin bank for your neighborhood, remember that the machine costs $20,000 ($18,500 for early birds) and can currently trade BTC for USD.
The device is essentially a hardened, ATM-like machine with biometric time locks and privacy-shielded touchscreen. It can accept and dispense cash (and is “International denomination-ready”) and is Wi-Fi and 3G-enabled.
According to a blog posting the team is ready to change the way Bitcoin is bought and sold.
“RoboCoin represents a compelling investment for business owners,” they write. “They’ll earn a percentage of transactions and attract Bitcoin’s loyal user-base, while also offering unprecedented access and ease-of-adoption to Bitcoin newcomers. Furthermore every Robocoin on the market increases Bitcoin liquidity and usage, putting upward pressure on the digital currency’s valuation, awareness, and legitimacy.”
Robocoin first surfaced in in San Jose at a Bitcoin conference and is directly competing with Lamassu Bitcoin Ventures Bitcoin ATM. This model connects directly to Mt. Gox or Bitstamp, two BTC exchanges, for instant funding.
Having a real, working ATM will add a considerably energy to the Bitcoin market. While these units are arguably expensive (a cheap ATM tops out at about $3,000) it’s clear that the back end is what matters here and not the box. Wheeling one of these into, say, a hacker conference or other con would get you plenty of traffic and improve the standing of Bitcoin in general. Once BTC to other currency transactions are commonplace, it’s clear that cryptocurrencies may have even more of a fighting chance.